MindTap Best Practices: Winning Ideas

Through our recent MindTap Best Practices contest, instructors across the country shared the creative and effective ways that they’ve used MindTap to spark student engagement and critical thinking in their courses. We enjoyed reading each response and appreciate all that they’ve done to create an engaging course experience for their students.

Below, we’ve listed the winners, along with their winning ideas. We congratulate each of them, and thank them for telling us how they “turn the light on” student engagement with MindTap.
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Community Colleges Are Successfully Reinventing Their Mission

Following World War II, “the United States economy promised middle-class jobs to high school graduates,” as Georgetown University’s Anthony Carnevale noted in a 2012 New York Times piece. “As late as the 1970s, more than 70 percent of middle-class jobs still required only high school or less, but between 1973 and 2010, the share of jobs requiring education beyond high school more than doubled, to more than 60 percent from 28 percent.” With today’s employment emphasis on technology and specialization, the expectations lean even more dramatically toward a postsecondary degree. For a growing population of traditional and non-traditional students, that means a two-year community college.

Though often stigmatized and dismissed in the past, community colleges have nonetheless realized a resurgence of interest among learners of all ages, educational backgrounds, skill levels and goals.

To read more about these trends, read our paper “Community Colleges Are Successfully Reinventing Their Mission,” which details how students at community colleges are more satisfied than students in four-year schools and also feel that their community college courses prepare them better for the workplace, compared with four-year schools.

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Hand Grading and Paperwork Become Overwhelming, Until SAM Lightens the Load

Sandy Keeter has been teaching at Seminole State College since 1994, but has been a computer “trainer” since the early 80s. At Seminole, she teaches a variety of classes in Microsoft® Office, both on-campus and online, including Introduction to Office Applications, which is offered as an online or hybrid course. As a former Air Force officer, Keeter previously worked with IBM on a project to “modernize” DOD computer systems, and she also taught Air Force ROTC students at the University of Florida. Not too many years ago, Keeter and her colleagues in Information Technology at Seminole were struggling with Read More…

Rich Digital Primary Source Sets and Intuitive Courseware Increase Student Engagement and Outcomes in U.S. History with MindTap

Students taking U.S. History courses in today’s higher education environment are often not engaged in the course and often apathetic to history in general. That sent Cengage Learning down a path to reinvent the courseware being used to teach and learn the U.S. History Survey. To measure the impact of this novel application, A total of nine instructors teaching History courses to 808 postsecondary students participated in the research. The goal of the study was to compare final grades achieved in courses taught by the same instructors under two different conditions: courses taught with MindTap and courses taught without MindTap. The results were quite dramatic: students in U.S. History classes using MindTap achieved significantly better course grades than students in classes using the same textbooks and other digital resources but without MindTap. Furthermore, students using MindTap for U.S. History received 32% more A’s and more than 35% less D’s and F’s. All instructors who used the Progress Report felt that it helped them understand students’ strengths and weaknesses. And around two-thirds of students who used MindTap recommended it for students taking the course in the future. MindTap for U.S. History is an effective tool to increase the academic success of students in the digital classroom.

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Teaching Students the Value of Building an ePortfolio

Portfolios have been an asset for students and job seekers for decades, and lately they’ve been getting a fresh, new look. Many employers and admissions officers now expect student applicants to provide an ePortfolio that quickly and concisely demonstrates their work experience and abilities.

Unfortunately, this is not something that students often begin working on until they are asked to provide one. Discover how you can communicate the value of an ePortfolio to your students and get them started on it early. Read More…

MindTap for Introduction to American Government

Rich Powell teaches at the University of Maine, and has used MindTap in his Introduction to American Government course for approximately a year, in conjunction with Janda et al.’s The Challenge of Democracy text. Rich teaches his Introduction to American Government course both in person and online. He appreciates that MindTap offers a seamless integration into the Blackboard Learning Management System. MindTap’s integration with Blackboard lessens his workload and adds to his efficiency, while giving students a better overall experience.

Rich has also found the content within MindTap helps engage his students in course concepts. The engaging content found in MindTap reinforces students’ understanding of concepts they learn in class while developing their critical thinking skills.

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Solving the Biggest Challenge of Teaching Critical Thinking

Instructors, administrators, and school board members tend to all agree that critical thinking is a valuable skill for college students to develop. However, deciding to teach it in the classroom is often easier said than done. Instructors may wonder where to begin, how to motivate their students, and how to structure learning outcomes. To determine where to start, we asked our community to identify their top challenge with teaching critical thinking. Read More…

Tips for Students: Improving Study Strategies for Midterms

When it comes time for important exams, college students’ usual level of effort may not quite cut it. Preparing for midterms or finals typically requires significantly more reading, reviewing, and studying–all of which can significantly impact academic success. Share these five tips with your students to help them ramp up their study techniques in time for midterms or other exams.   Read More…

The Efficacy of MindTap in Business and Computer Courses

When asked about their teaching challenges, college instructors often share a common refrain—the desire to 1) engage their students in their coursework and 2) foster critical thinking.

With so many of today’s students fixated on digital devices, it’s logical that digital products can serve as a gateway to improving student engagement and analytical thinking, and consequently, learning. Examining the best practices of instructors who use digital solutions in their courses can spark ideas and reveal effective strategies for addressing seemingly intractable teaching and learning problems.

Cengage Learning’s MindTap® has generated positive outcomes in a variety of business and computer courses, and been lauded by instructors and students alike. This white paper summarizes quantitative studies as well as the individual experiences of a few instructors who have found MindTap to be both effective and appealing.


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Share and Win with MindTap: Call for Best Practices

How do you maximize student engagement? There are a multitude of ways to promote interaction and encourage participation in a college course.  Whether you incorporate videos into class time, set up forums for online discussion, or follow the flipped classroom method, the goal is to increase student engagement and success. If you are a current MindTap user, we are pleased to offer you the opportunity to share your bright ideas and successful methods with other educators.  Enter our contest to tell us how you use MindTap to turn the light on engagement. The requirements are simple:

    Craft a 150-word (maximum)
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